Those were the days, my friend…

This article was published previously in the Bridport News

On Saturday, Petula Clark celebrates her 82nd birthday. I know! 82! Paul McCartney is a mere lad at 72 and who could imagine that ‘The Who’ have been together for 50 years? As for Mick Jagger, well…

Pet Clark was a great favourite of mine when I was growing up. When I hear ‘Down Town’ on the radio I am transported back to the mid 1960s. The age of black-and-white television and a Vesta packet curry on a Saturday night was thought the height of exotic cuisine.

It is a sign of ageing when one recognises that the stars of one’s youth are now elderly. Mind you, Pet Clark can still get the pace-maker racing even if the hips wouldn’t hold up to the Twist any more.

Looking back life seemed to be lived at a slower pace. Wagon Wheels were bigger, Snickers bars were still called Marathon; politicians didn’t speak in sound bites and only cheated on their wives not their expenses.

Yet when one reflects things where not that good. There was no equal pay act, gay men were entrapped by police officers in toilets and children were routinely and sometimes barbarically beaten. One of my memories from junior school was a caning so brutal that today the perpetrator would be imprisoned for assault. As an anonymous graffito once wrote ‘nostalgia isn’t what it used to be’.

It is a truism that in each age the present will eventually become the ‘good old days’. There seems to be a deep vein in human nature to be dissatisfied with the now of life and to wish to recall other days. Not for all of course, including those for whom the past is a painful or distressing place, but for those for whom the present is less that satisfying.

I’m one of the baby-boomers that now apparently much despised generation on whom all the world’s troubles may be blamed. We’ve had our struggles, too. Not the wars of our parent’s generation but challenges enough. Where things better or worse? Actually neither. They were just different.

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